I’m a new beekeeper in NW Alabama. I installed 3 five frame nucs on April 9. I’m feeding them 1:1 sugar water with “Amino-B Booster” added in 2 gallon in-hive feeders. I watched them the first week and one hive seemed noticeably weaker and by that I mean way less active. On the 16th I inspected all 3 and each had open and capped brood,eggs,nectar and pollen. The only difference I could see was that the 2 stronger hives simply have more bees,WAY more bees.
My question is: Since the feeders I’m using take up the space of 2 frames...on the 2 stronger hives should I put another deep on with just the feeder in it( or maybe with frames as well) and replace the 2 frames in the bottom box? I don’t think the weaker colony needs the space yet.
Howdy! A 2-gallon feeder seems like a lot for a 3 frame nuc. I’d recommend downsizing your feeder to provide more space for brood and adding drawn comb, if you have it, or foundation if not. I like to feed my nucs with jar feeders through the top cover. With this type, I can see when to reload (see pic).
Howdy. Not three-frame nucs. 3 five-frame nucs. These were installed into ten-frame Langstrorh hives.
Roger that. I misunderstood. Thanks for the clarification. So currently for each hive you have a 5 frame nuc, 3 empty frames, and a 2 frame feeder in a 10 frame box. If you move the feeder up and replace it with frames, you’ll have 5 empty frames on bottom and a top box to move into. That seems like too much space to me. Especially for the weaker nucs.
I would stay the course until they fill up a couple more frames in the bottom and then move the feeder to the top. You could also get a cheap 1-frame feeder to free up more space on the bottom before moving up. You will want them to fill out about 80% of the space in that bottom box before you move them up.
I agree with PW that the feeder alone up top will give them too much open area to draw a mess of comb. You’ll want them to focus on drawing your foundation.
Swap places with your strongest and weakest hive in the mid afternoon, between 1pm and 3pm. Returning foragers will return to their spot, not their hive. The increased population will help the weak hive by keeping the interior warmer at night and give better frame coverage that allows the queen to lay more eggs.